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by Peter Moskos

April 7, 2014

Crime in NYC is going to go up, unless it doesn't

I've never heard such uniformity in belief from police officers that crime is going to go up in New York City. Why with stop, question, and frisks down and a liberal mayor in charge, it's almost like they want crime to go up just so they can say, "we told you so" and reminisce about the good ol' days of Giuliani (when crime was, by the way -- though going down rapidly -- much higher).

Perhaps a level of fear and oppression is lifting from parts of the city... I don't know. Perhaps that is good. Perhaps it will lead to wilding and chaos. I don't know. But until crime does go up... when the next Compstat report is publicly released it will show it was a bad week in NYC, with 9 murders. This will negate much of the year's improvement over last year. And winter was indeed very cold.

So it would be nice to get through a long hot summer before stating with confidence that crime isn't going up. And if crime does go up in New York, let's keep the focus on police tactics and police citizen interaction and not blame the usual gobbledygook of liberal "root causes." (If the crime drop in the 1990s showed anything, it's that crime can plummet independently of improved social and economic conditions. Poverty can make you miserable; it does not turn you into a mugger.).

Regardless, right now crime is not going up. So until it does, it seems silly to run around like Chicken Little saying the sky is falling.


IrishPirate said...

Well in Chicago apparently "juking the crime stats" has hit the media.

From Chicago Magazine.

Shorter version from the Chicago Sun Times.

I suggest soon to be former Superintendent McCarthy start looking for new employment as a character actor on NYC related cop shows.

Mayor Rahmbo takes the blame for NOTHING. Prepare to Repel Boarders!

Also you missed a good marketing technique for your "Flogging" book.

It would have become a collector's item and perhaps even been referenced on SNL.

PCM said...

For the Sun Times version, it doesn't seem like that big of deal. The UCR always did (strangely) classify incidents rather than victims. So they changed the definition a few years ago? I'd be surprised if any police department didn't lag behind.

Regardless, this is why I only look at homicides (and shootings) to judge crime trends. Those counts tend to be pretty good (though I see shootings have the same issue... and shootings stats are always harder to come by).

Kyle W said...

Bloomberg wasn't a Democrat?? Wow, I just now found that out (Wikipedia). Color me surprised.

campbell said...

Regardless, this is why I only look at homicides (and shootings) to judge crime trends.

Auto theft is probably fairly hard to juke because every case requires listing that vehicle on NCIC with a case number, originating agency, etc. It would be way to easy to say spot discrepancies between how many vehicles an agency listed on NCIC vs the number of cases generated to think messing with those stats would be a good idea.

PCM said...

Bloomberg doesn't really fit easily into party labels. But he ran (simultaneously) as a Republican and an Independent. Before he has mayor, he considered himself a Democrat.

PCM said...

Auto theft is pretty reliable. The problem is that it's gone done so much, 95%, that it is sort of a category all of it's own because cars became harder to steal. So car thefts aren't as useful as using them as a proxy-measure for crime in general. And I don't think cops who want to play with numbers play with car thefts (for all the reasons you state). It's the rapes and the aggravated or felony assaults that are easy to mis-categorize.